We live in a time when we are constantly bombarded with images, ideas, and sound bytes that tell us who we should be, could be, and ought to be. Unless you live in a cave, you can’t escape their massive barrage, and let’s face it, even from a cave you could probably still get text messages.
Think of all you see in a day … images and words of what you should look like, should have, and ought to measure up to, all pointing to one main message: “You are not enough.” It’s enough to make your head spin and throw even the most self-assured person off center. Add in a few difficult life events—a breakup, a job loss, a pay cut—and you could end up with a Hiroshima to your self-confidence.
Unless that is, you have built up your self-confidence muscles. Just like training for a marathon and building physical muscles, to be a successful, happy, and confident person, you must work out your mental and emotional muscles regularly.
You wouldn’t go to the gym to start training your physical muscles the day before a marathon, would you? No way! You’d peril on the pavement. So why would the marathon of your life be any different? It’s not.
Put these seven tips into practice daily and you will develop the confidence and conviction that you can do anything … no matter what the outside world is telling you:
1. Stop Worrying About What Others Think—Trust Yourself
You can’t be responsible for how everyone else thinks about how you live your life, so stop worrying about how your family, partner, and friends will react to your choices and start getting real about how you feel about your life. Act from what you think is right for you. We always know what the best action is to take for ourselves, when we slow down enough to listen to our inner wisdom. It’s just not always easy to slow down or to trust our intuition. Be committed to trusting yourself, even when it’s scary, and even when others disagree.
2. Become Best Buds with Your Intuition
Inside of you is the best life and decision-making compass ever—your intuition. It always communicates what is best for you, but you have to be listening, and you have to trust its advice. Just like a best friend, if you’re not calling, it will stop trying to contact you. If you keep asking for advice but don’t take it, it will stop trying to help. Start listening for the communication cues of your intuition—through words you hear, images you see, feelings you have, and things you just know. Act based on what your intuition tells you and you will start to trust yourself more, and build more self-confidence in the process.
3. Know What Makes You Unique
Every person, including you, was born with a set of unique gifts, talents, and inclinations that they are naturally good at, more so than the average person. When you find these gifts and use them, your confidence, success, and happiness increases. Think Tiger Woods. Born to golf. No matter how much you practiced, you’d never be as great as him; he has a gift. You have gifts too. Ask the people that know you the best, “What are my gifts?” Take notice of the compliments you receive, especially ones you find hard to accept. Make a list of your gifts and start putting time, energy, and money there.
4. Know What Makes You Happy
Stop trying to fit into the expectations and ideals that outside forces—society, family, work, friends—have said you “should” be in order to be successful, happy, and accepted, and start asking yourself, “What really makes me happy?” Think about the times that you’ve been happiest. Who were you being? What did you have? What were you doing? Do the same for your most unhappy times. Compare the two to your life today and notice the gaps. Happiness breeds confidence.
5. Have an Opinion and Express It
Know what you believe and don’t be afraid to express it. Confident people have convictions that come from inside their souls, minds, and hearts. They know their truth and are willing to stand in it, even when what they have to say makes others uncomfortable. Know your truth in all situations and share it with pride and conviction, knowing that your unique voice deserves to be heard just because you’re you.
6. Never Apologize for Being You
Unfortunately, the world is full of people, including our inner mean girls and inner bullies, that want to keep us small, playing along and being “good” girls and boys. When you listen to them by apologizing for who you are, or by discounting your contributions, thoughts, and feelings, you squash your self-confidence. Be brilliant. Be you. And never apologize for it.
7. Spend Less Time in the Basement, More Time in the Penthouse
We all have emotional triggers, things that evoke an overly strong feeling and reaction—anxiety, anger, worry, shame, despair, fear—especially during times of stress. Your job is to notice when you have one of these basement emotions that erode your confidence, and then to get yourself back up into the penthouse where emotions like trust, peace, love, joy, and happiness live. Have your hard emotions, just have them and move back on up to the penthouse, where the view of your life is much better!